Microsoft Was Wrong About Open Source, Now Single Largest Contributor

During a virtual MIT event, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal counsel, admitted that Microsoft had the wrong perception of open-source culture back in the 20s.

Brad said, “Microsoft was on the wrong side of history when open source exploded at the beginning of the century, and I can say that about me personally.” He joined Microsoft in 1993 when Linux and the free software revolution were on the verge of rising to change the world of open source.

While Linux became a symbol of collaboration and contribution with the largest open source project, Microsoft continued its branding for propriety software. Even if we recall the statement by Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer, “Linux is cancer,” it perfectly reflects Redmond’s past sourness for open source.

However, things have changed a lot; open source continued to work on its vision, while Microsoft, the proprietary advocate, changed its vision. In other words, Microsoft lost to open source by indulging in contribution and joining hands with open source communities like The Linux Foundation.

As Brad says, “The good news is that, if life is long enough, you can learn… that you need to change.” This is what the new Microsoft is all about and it now even champions the slogan “Microsoft Loves Open source.” They now possess a long list of open source projects and collaborations such as WSL, Azure IoT, IPE, Powershell for Linux, and acquisition of GitHub and NPM.

Within a span of years, Microsoft has accelerated its contribution to become the single largest contributor to open source projects, beating Facebook, Docker, Google, Apache, and many others.

What else can you say when Richard Stallman, one of the biggest critics of Microsoft and promoter of free software, visits Microsoft office and offers suggestions!

Via – ZDNet